From diagnostic imaging student to radiology executive

June 14, 2023

Shot of doctors and staff working at Hartford HealthCare

Tom Cappas ’00, MS ’13, MBA ’15, didn’t set out to become the chief operating officer of Midstate Radiology Associates and the system director of radiology for Hartford HealthCare.

At least not initially.

“I was a rather shy kid with big, thick glasses when I first came to Quinnipiac," Cappas said from his office at MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Connecticut. “The diagnostic imaging program gave me the opportunity to take what I learned in class and go into hospitals as a teenager."

Being shy initially, the opportunities within the diagnostic imaging program provided an environment where Cappas could thrive, he said.

“That experience took me out of my shell," said Cappas. "It was a game-changer for me, it really was. I hit the ground running with real-world training in real-world, patient-care environments.”

Cappas has always been curious, highly competitive and driven, from his days as a student in the School of Health Sciences to his distinguished career in radiology. But, after spending most of his early career as an MRI technologist, Cappas wanted to learn more about the business side of radiology. So he returned to Quinnipiac to earn his Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and his Master of Business Administration.

With two advanced degrees from the School of Business, Cappas was uniquely prepared to take the next step in his career. He found the perfect opportunity at Midstate Radiology Associates, a valued partner of Hartford HealthCare, the state’s largest healthcare system.

Today, Cappas has played a vital role in the historic growth and national accolades of Midstate Radiology Associates. Over the last seven years, Cappas has helped to build the practice from three sites to over 20 across Connecticut and from seven radiologists to 50.

The practice conducts more than half a million exams each year in women’s imaging, orthopedic imaging, screening and preventative services, oncologic imaging, neuroradiology, interventional radiology and vein treatment.

Among some of the mentors Cappas credits for his success are William Hennessy, professor emeritus of diagnostic imaging and former director of the diagnostic imaging program, and Jerry Conlogue, professor emeritus of diagnostic imaging.

“When I first came to Quinnipiac, I was undecided about my science major," said Cappas. "My older brother, Michael, was in the respiratory therapy program. During my first semester, Bill and Jerry came to talk to all the undecided science majors about the diagnostic imaging program — and I fell in love with the program."

Soon after, Cappas saw his future path illuminating in front of him.

“Suddenly, I knew what I wanted to do with my career,” Cappas added. “I quickly transferred into the diagnostic imaging program and I realized how I could leverage my skill sets to make an impact on patient care. Bill and Jerry were growing the program at that point and setting it up for the national stage.”

But this was more than just recruiting new students, Cappas explained. Hennessy and Conlogue saw the future with uncommon clarity. They saw diagnostic imaging education at Quinnipiac as a model and a standard for programs all across the country.

And they were right.

“They were thinking big when they were building that program," Cappas said. “They weren’t going to settle for anything less. They instilled that mentality in me, the ability to think differently. I believe that’s one of the main reasons we’ve grown so much at Midstate Radiology."

Even more importantly, Cappas said, has been growing Midstate Radiology while elevating patient care. Patients always come first in any discussion, any planning and in any service.

“Our patients want the best of everything — the best diagnostic imaging professionals, the best equipment and technology, the best reading, they want it all — and they deserve it all,” Cappas said. “We need to be singularly focused on their care. And we are.”

Cappas credits his education at Quinnipiac for encouraging and developing his entrepreneurial nature. In gratitude, he’s served as a part-time member of the diagnostic imaging faculty in the School of Health Sciences.

“What I’ve learned is that the successful radiology organizations are entrepreneurial and innovative,” said Cappas, who was selected as a semifinalist for national Radiology Executive of the Year in 2020 and 2021. “You’re always looking for new and better ways to serve your patients. You have to be consumer driven. Radiology is one of those professions in healthcare that’s involved with all aspects of patient care, from diagnosis through treatment."

“People come to us for preventative care like mammography and other screenings," he added. "They also come to us for diagnosis on acute injuries and illnesses. There aren’t many other specialties that offer the full continuum of care like radiology does.”

When Cappas isn’t offering that full continuum of care, he’s likely spending time with his wife, Alexis, who earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Quinnipiac in 2000, and their children, 14-year-old Nick and 11-year-old Anna.

“My family means everything to me,” Cappas said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now